News / Asia

A Step Towards Justice for One Kashmiri Family

A Step Towards Justice for One Kashmiri Familyi
X
September 20, 2013 7:44 PM
In what is being called an unprecedented decision, a court in Indian-controlled Kashmir recently held police responsible for the killing of a 12-year old boy in a 2010 attack. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to the boy's family who says the ruling gives hope for achieving justice and basic human rights in the disputed region.
Aru Pande
Three years ago, Wamiq Farooq went out to play cricket and never came home.
Al that is left for his parents and older brother, Danish, are school photos, certificates and trophies symbolizing the unfulfilled dreams of a future the 12-year old Kashmiri never had.
“He was really brilliant, seriously. I can’t explain how brilliant he was, how good of a student he was, seriously. I was really proud of him,” Danish Farooq says as his eyes well up with tears.
A Life Cut Short
Farooq says his younger brother was playing with his friends near a stadium in Indian-Kashmir’s main town of Srinagar on January 30, 2010, when police officers drove by and threw a teargas shell. It struck the back of Wamiq’s head and killed him.  Witnesses say the attack was unprovoked, and that the boy was not taking part in stone throwing or any other unrest. 
In August, a local judge issued arrest warrants for the two officers for culpable homicide, saying police acted recklessly. In the ruling, the judge said tear gas shells are “not a weapon of offense but only intended to disarm miscreants.” Chief Judicial Magistrate Rajeev Gupta also warned police personnel to use only as much force as necessary to disperse an unruly mob.
Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chair of the separatist umbrella organization Hurriyat Conference, says the ruling in Wamiq Farooq’s death sets an important precedent that such cases must be investigated and brought to justice.
 “A commission of inquiry has to be sought into for all those killings, all those fake encounters, all the police brutality that has happened over these years,” he told VOA just minutes after learning of the court ruling.  “And I must add to it that even the Hurriyat Conference is not averse to looking into issues where armed people or militants may have committed violations of human rights.

Human Rights

International human rights organizations have long accused Indian security forces of using excessive force, including firing live ammunition, during pro-independence protests in the disputed Himalayan region.
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan and claimed in full by both.
More than 60,000 people have been killed in an armed insurgency that began in the late 1980’s, with separatists fighting for self-determination.
Wamiq Farooq’s death in early 2010 was the beginning of a year of deadly clashes between security forces and stone-throwing protesters. At least 100 people were killed, mostly demonstrators who were shot by police.
Kashmir Inspector General of Police Abdul Ghani Mir says the unrest of 2010 was a turning point for his force.
“The J&K (Jammu and Kashmir) has learned its lessons. In the last three years, 2011, 2012 and 2013, there have been protests, there has been stone pelting, the incidents’ triggers have been there, these things have been there, but we have not seen that any killings have taken place during the protests because we have evolved our responses,” Mir said.
Radha Kumar was one of three government-appointed mediators sent to Kashmir following the violence of 2010.  The political scientist acknowledges security reforms and fewer human rights violations in recent years, but says the government has not done enough to address people’s grievances, including addressing alleged human rights abuses committed by security forces.
“Kashmiris showed a huge will in trying to put the events of 2010 behind them and move forward on tourism, economy and other issues.  But when you say ‘behind them,’ it doesn’t mean that you are giving up on justice, ” Kumar said.
As for Firdousa Farooq, she never gave up on justice for her son Wamiq.
 “This is not just a win for me, but for the entire Kashmir.  This is a win for all those who have experienced injustice and for those yet to come. Who knows how long this will go on,” she said.
Her legal battle over, this mother returns to her now quiet Srinagar home, still longing to hear the footsteps of a little boy whose life was cut short.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Christmas Gains Popularity in Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid